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TCI countdowns to TS force winds by Thursday, everything you need to know

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Turks and Caicos, September 6th, 2017 – Providenciales – It is Wednesday September 6th and by tomorrowThursday September 7th all of the islands of the Turks and Caicos will be experiencing super strong Category 5 Hurricane Irma and her 185mph winds.  I have aimed to put together all of the things we all need  to know at this point from government and the private sector and that includes that there is no school today, TCIG wants everyone to be hunkered down by this evening and so that means government offices will not open on Thursday; private sector operations will follow suit.

Two schools in Provo are to be used as shelters, Enid Capron in Five Cays and Oseta Jolly in Blue Hills and the Community Center College in Grand Turk is the storm shelter site.  An evacuation is in effect for both Salt Cay and Middle Caicos. We are told many have left tiny Salt Cay, which was yesterday visited by the Premier, Home Affairs Minister and Health Minister. Today, there is bus and boat transportation provided by Government for Middle Caicos residents who need to leave that island.  All airports will close at 6pm today informed the TCIAA. This means domestic and international flights will cease, including Bahamasair which will run its usual Thursday flight into Nassau today. Please be at the airport early if you are scheduled for the service.

When it comes to airlines flying into the United States, today is also the final day and the US State Department late yesterday issued a notice to all American Citizens to leave the TCI and The Bahamas and if you cannot or do not want to, to find a safe and secure place to ride out the storm.  Americans are advised to inform their family and friends about where they are and cautioned to protect their travel and identification documents.  The Ministry of Tourism and TCI Tourist Board agree that guests should leave today, but if not, to remain indoors during the storm and to follow the advice of officials and their hotel staff.

Cruise ships were in port yesterday in Grand Turk, according to information from Tourism, but stops from today have been redirected.  The North to Middle Caicos ferry also suspends operations today by 5:30pm.  When it comes to banks, they will operate regular hours today as determined by the Bankers Association, but tomorrow and Friday all banks will be closed.  Grocery stores will also function as usual today. Some tell Magnetic Media they will remain open for as long as weather permits on Thursday but Graceway Supermarkets which means IGA, Gourmet and Smart will close at 11am on Thursday to allow its staff to go home and make final preparations or lock in to ride out the hurricane.

The Premier reminded on Monday that RTC is the main voice of Government during the storm, but other stations and media houses intend to continue serving the public throughout the storm with information coming from the National Hurricane Center, the Bahamas Department of Meteorology and the TCIs DDME.  The power company, FortisTCI closed its offices since yesterday and asks the public to stay away from downed power lines and to report problems to 946-4313.  You can also visit FortisTCI Facebook page for updates.

The water company, Provo Water, closes its office in Grace Bay today and also gives an emergency number as 231-0705 if you see any bursts.  The Governor confirmed to Magnetic Media that the RFA Mounts Bay is in the Caribbean.  The Royal Navy vessel which is deployed to support regional countries, including UK Overseas territories in events like hurricanes is said to be “ready to provide practical and humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The public is advised to ensure you know which hurricane shelter is nearest you. There are nine shelters opened nationwide . You can view them at our site or at DDMEs Facebook page.

You can also find the flood prone areas list if you want to become acquainted.  The advancements in technology have made just about everyone a reporter, but moving about the island is strongly discouraged; and this includes after the storm as well.  Sight-seeing is not wise and very dangerous.  The spread of Fake News or unverified reports is also discouraged by officials, who will today address media in a final debriefing before Hurricane Irma strikes.

By Deandrea Hamilton

Bahamas News

GBPA invests $1.1 million in major road infrastructure improvements for city of Freeport

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#TheBahamas, May 20, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA) will commence its $1.1 million road resurfacing project in Freeport, Grand Bahama on Sunday, May 22, 2022 beginning with the Fishing Hole Road, and West Atlantic and Adventures Way roundabout.

“Our City Maintenance and Management section is excited to begin this important initiative to resurface roadways within Freeport,” said Troy McIntosh, GBPA Deputy Director of Building and Development Services.  “Our city has been through many challenging storm events which did catastrophic damage to infrastructure around the island, including our roads.

“But our community is resilient, and we are seeing a positive shift in the economic tide,” continued McIntosh. “Excitement for future opportunities and anticipation of new investments is palpable through the city, so we knew this was the ideal time to start this aspect of Freeport’s much-needed makeover to which GBPA is fully committed.”

Roadworks are scheduled for main thoroughfares and a number of residential roads.  These areas include the Fishing Hole Road, West Atlantic and Adventures Way roundabout, West Atlantic Drive at Rayvin Mall roundabout, Beach Way Drive, Bahama Reef Boulevard, Pioneers Way, Waterfall Drive, Tarrytown Street and Grand Bahama Highway.  “We selected these locations using our Road Rating System, which allows inspectors to assess the condition and rideability of our roads on an annual basis,” added Mr. McIntosh.

The GBPA roadworks project went out to bid in December 2020.  In March 2022, the bid was awarded to Bahamas Hot Mix (BHM), who specializes in heavy civil engineering projects including major highways.

“We ask motorists to drive with due care and attention while roadwork is underway,” Mr. McIntosh advised.  Flagmen and temporary traffic lights will be in position to direct traffic.  Please obey the speed limit and posted signs to help ensure the safety of all motorists and crews as they conduct work.  Delays are expected as there will be partial lane closures in some areas.”

The initial phase of road resurfacing is scheduled to be completed at the end of June 2022.  For the latest updates and information on redirected travel routes, residents can follow any of the Grand Bahama Port Authority’s social media sites or visit its website at www.gbpa.com.

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Caribbean News

RTCIPF Marine Branch and USCG Working Together in Keeping Our Borders Secure

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#TurksandCaicos, May 20, 2022 – During the afternoon of Wednesday 19th May 2022, a call was made to the RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre via VHF radio that a suspicious vessel was sighted around 35 miles south east of Providenciales. The operator immediately updated colleagues within the Royal Turks and Caicos Marine Branch who made their way to the location and with the support of a US Coast Guard (USCG) plane, safely intercepted an overloaded vessel carrying irregular migrants.

Following delicate coordination and the stabilization of the boat which was unsafe, severely overcrowded and none of the occupants was wearing life vests, the RTCIPF marine unit was joined by a second RTCIPF Marine crew and a third vessel crewed with TCI Regiment and Tactical Unit officers to support the delicate operation.

The vessel was carefully offloaded at sea to ensure the safety of the occupants after which, the boat was towed to South Dock where it arrived around 10:30pm with a total of 110 persons (84 males and 24 females and 2 juveniles) who were then taken into custody by the Immigration Department.

Superintendent Martyn Ball said, “Once again working with partners we have safely intercepted another vessel that was overcrowded, unsafe, risking the lives of those on board. This demonstrates the professionalism and dedication of the RTCIPF Marine Unit, working together with colleagues in the Marine Operations Centre, USCG, TCI Regiment, TCI Immigration and the RTCIPF Tactical Unit to save lives and keep our borders here in the Turks and Caicos safe.  In the last couple of months around 768 individuals on 8 dangerous vessels have been intercepted which is testament to the professionalism of our teams here in the TCI and I am very grateful to the passing vessel who raised the alarm.  I would appeal to anyone if you have any information relating to such activity that you call Crimes Stoppers free and anonymously on 1-800-8477 (TIPS) not only will you be saving lives but also supporting our national security here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

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Education

Ten Selected for the TCREA Real Estate Mentorship Program

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#TurksandCaicos, May 20, 2022 – Since the official announcement of the Turks & Caicos Real Estate Association’s High School Mentorship Program, ten mentees have been selected for the inaugural group and will begin their journey on the road to embracing the fundamentals of the real estate field this month.

TCREA Ambassador and Director of the mentorship program, Mr. Trevor Musgrove, shared how pleased the committee was to have received thirty applications for the program, “We extended the opportunity to high schoolers and young college students aged 13-17.  Initially, the invitation for applications was shared only with Providenciales students because of the logistical challenge to accommodate in-person sessions with sister island students, as all our committee members are based in Providenciales.

Luckily, once the Ministry of Education came on board and endorsed the program, Honourable Rachel Taylor immediately encouraged us to extend the mentorship opportunity to all islands, pledging her Ministry’s commitment to handling the necessary authorizations and cost to ensure successful applicants outside of Provo would be able travel here as needed,” said Musgrove.

 The successful applicants and their respective schools are as follows:

·     Clement Howell High – Dashawn Brooks, Alyssa Callum

·      Raymond Gardiner High – Olique Stubbs, Lewis Walkin, Jr.

·      Precious Treasures – Aniyah Bovie

·      Maranatha Academy – Shamya Missick

·      British West Indies Collegiate – Pavla Lalakova, Andino Parker

·      Louise Garland Thomas High – Abnise Noel, Antoine Gedeon

Musgrove said they were pleased to have had applicants from North Caicos and were hopeful to have students from Grand Turk and South Caicos among the group, however no applications were received from those islands.

On Tuesday, May 10th the final group came together for a virtual meet-up and briefing, where they were formally introduced to the program’s mentors and were given an overview of what to expect in the coming months.

The teens will receive a monthly educational module over the next six months and will be provided 1-2 weeks to internalize the information. They will then enjoy a monthly in-person session with their mentors where they will put their real estate acumen to the test in interactive sessions, field trips, and more.

Program mentor Manfred Smith of Sotheby’s Turks & Caicos shared his elation for the program’s momentum thus far, “We are excited about providing this opportunity to introduce high school students to the real estate industry.  From the initial feedback, the students are also very keen to learn, which makes it rewarding for all as we contribute to the development of tomorrow’s professionals.”

Smith says the program also demonstrates TCREA’s continued commitment as good corporate citizens in the rapidly growing country.  The committee hopes that the mentees would grasp all that they can as they continue their educational pursuits.

The program’s Facebook page, @tcreamentors, is live and will document the group’s journey as they move through the program’s phases.  Along with Musgrove and Smith, the community can get to know more about the other committee members: Blair MacPherson of REMAX; Nina Siegenthaler of Sotheby’s; Vernica Delancy and Dedra Gray of Keller Williams; and Sean O’neill, of The Agency through the social media page as well.

At the end of the program, the students will sit a mock real estate license exam and will enjoy a retreat for a fun and memorable close-out. 

It is TCREA’s hope that this initiative will garner an interest and appreciation for the industry among high-schoolers and will act as springboard to the development of the next generation of local real estate professionals in these islands.

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